University of Miami

Offensive explosion for UM baseball in win over Rutgers

UM’s David Thompson hit a three-run homer and sacrifice fly for four RBI in the fourth.
UM’s David Thompson hit a three-run homer and sacrifice fly for four RBI in the fourth. FOR THE MIAMI HERALD

It’s not clear if the new, flatter-seamed baseballs introduced this year in college made a difference Sunday in the Miami Hurricanes’ 25-4 torching of Rutgers.

But it is clear that the bats of the ninth-ranked Hurricanes worked exceptionally well.

Miami scored 12 runs on eight hits in the bottom of the fourth — a 40-minute marathon at Mark Light Field that had 16 Canes at the plate.

UM swept the four-game series with 48 runs on 53 hits.

“Not too shabby,” said junior David Thompson, who hit a three-run homer and sacrifice fly during a four-RBI fourth inning. “We swung the bat great.”

The last time Miami scored more than 25 runs was on May 2, 2003, when the Canes defeated Pace 27-1.

“Great game for us,’’ UM coach Jim Morris said. “I really couldn’t remember the last time we scored that many runs. Sometimes it was a few weeks combined we didn’t score 25 runs in the last couple years.

“I do think the ball makes a difference, but I think our guys are stronger, too. And it’s great to see that because part of this game is scoring runs — the exciting part. Of course, the biggest hit of the day was when Ricky Eusebio came up. It was nothing-nothing, bases loaded and the two previous guys did not get them in.”

With two strikes, Eusebio (team-high .583) laced a three-run double down the left-field line in the second inning. From there, the runs rarely stopped.

Of UM’s 53 hits, 22 were for extra bases — 16 doubles, four triples and two home runs.

“It’s contagious, man,” said catcher Garrett Kennedy, who had three hits and scored five runs Sunday, finishing the series 5 for 11 (.455). “Once somebody gets going, everybody says, ‘I’m going to do this,’ and ‘I’m going to do this,’ and ‘I’m going to do this.’”

How invigorating was Sunday’s slugfest? Hurricanes quarterback Malik Rosier, at UM on a football scholarship, hit his first career home run and single.

“Great to see that for Malik,” Morris said of the 6-3, 213-pound speedy freshman outfielder from Mobile. “He’s a really, really good athlete who has a chance to be a good player if he keeps working at it.

“He’s strong — his home run, and a bullet up the middle his first hit of the year.

“First hits, first RBIs, first appearances as pitchers, that’s what you can do when you score a bunch of runs and get a lot of guys in the game. It’s great for those guys to get some experience and build on that.”

The Hurricanes (4-0) used five pitchers, with sophomore Derik Beauprez earning his first career victory. Beauprez allowed one run on three hits in two innings.

The players voted walk-on Daniel Briggi “pitcher of the game,” Morris said.

Briggi, a senior, tried repeatedly to make the baseball team but was cut at least twice before this season. In his career debut, Briggi did not allow a hit, run or walk in two innings. He struck out two of the six batters he faced.

“I’m happy for him,” Morris said of Briggi, who plans to go to medical school. “He’s a brilliant kid … very popular.”

The Canes travel to Boca Raton to play FAU (3-0) at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, then go to Gainesville for a weekend series at Florida (3-0).